United Airlines planned to launch a new flight service between Newark, N.J. and St. Thomas today. However, due to local restrictions surrounding COVID-19, the airline has limited the route to just one flight a week through September.
According to a report from the Caribbean Journal, United Airlines was poised to operate round-trip services between Newark and St. Thomas from Thursday through Sunday. The V.I. Port Authority, however, informed The Daily News that the airline has reduced the service to just one Sunday-only flight for the month of September.
The reduction came after Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. extended the territory’s Stay-at-Home order for an additional week. The order prevents hotels and other accommodations from accepting new reservations for leisure travel, a prohibition that greatly reduces the number of airline travelers to the territory.
Last month, United Airlines announced plans to fly 37% of its overall schedule in September as compared to the same period last year, marking a 4% increase in capacity compared to what was planned for August.
Now, however, United Airlines is one of the first major airlines to cut back on flights in response to Bryan’s second Stay-at-Home order. The first order came in March, when COVID-19 first hit the Virgin Islands.
While a number of airlines resumed limited service to the territory after June 1 when Bryan issued an “Open Doors” order, it is unclear how many more will reduce services given the recent surge in local cases.